Software & Services
THE AUDITOR'S FRIEND
Companies point to their auditors to prove their processes are sound, but who do auditors point to? One option might be CCH's new ProSystem fx Knowledge Tools, which provides a streamlined audit methodology, including procedures, alerts, examples, references and optional workpapers, as well as a Communication Hub where teams can share the results of each stage of the audit. Developed in collaboration with the experts at AuditWatch, the application will help auditors implement the American Institute of CPAs' new standards on risk assessments in audits, and is available stand-alone or as a module for CCH's ProSystem fx Engagement.
WHERE'D IT GO?
The New Products desk includes three drawers, one shelf and two square feet of desktop, and yet in that limited space we regularly manage to lose important things like documents, keys, telephones and various staff members. How much easier, then, is it to lose information in an accounting system, which contains infinitely more in a much smaller space?
That's why the latest release of TIW's Alere Accounting includes a new feature called Fetch, which lets users access any type of information in the system, without quitting their current work. Version 5.1 also has the ability to convert QuickBooks companies to Alere; allows the importation of a new company's chart of accounts, fiscal period data, global codes definitions and more; and enhances the handling of recurring journal entries.
Good cop, bad cop
To the client, he who provides a service is a hero; he who expects to be paid for it is a villain. If you'd rather not be a villain, but you still want to eat, consider a factoring service, like the one recently introduced by Business Loan Express. Factors basically take over a firm's accounts receivable, advancing them a percentage of the face value (BLX's is typically up 75 percent), and then paying off the rest - minus a fee, naturally - when the bills are paid. It can improve a company's cash flow and flexibility, and means you can concentrate on being a hero.
One of the problems with real live employees is that not only do you have pay for the benefits they demand or are entitled to, but to deliver them you have to comply with a complex web of state and federal regulations that changes constantly. Our solution? Hire robots. Ceridian's solution? The Ceridian Benefits Compliance Reference System, a comprehensive risk management and best-practices Web guide to all sorts of benefits. For less than $500 a year, it will keep you up to date on all health, welfare and retirement employee benefits, both mandatory and optional, and offers updates, forms, policies, notices, FAQs, checklists and more.
Users of Global Software's Spreadsheet Server data-mining and analysis software for ERP systems will be glad to know the company has launched a new Web site specifically for them. It offers case studies, Webcast registration, marketing materials and blogs, and also handles inquiries from those who want to become certified to represent Spreadsheet Server.
NEW AND IMPROVED!
OB10 (www.ob10.com) has added digital signatures to its electronic invoicing service. ... Lucid8 has released Version 1.6 of its DigiVault data protection and recovery application.
The clients you work with will often have a very different view of accounting subjects than you do. Take financial analysis: It means one thing to you, a slightly different thing to corporate finance executives, and an entirely different thing to those without an accounting background. Financial Analysis: A Controller's Guide is aimed, as you might imagine, specifically at controllers and other financial managers who need to bring innovative techniques to
the running of their businesses. It can teach them skills in areas like deciding when to cut products and services, and evaluating company processes, capital investments, financing options, acquisition targets and much more.
Meanwhile, those who know nothing of accounting often view even the simplest of financial statements through glazed eyes. Crash Course in Accounting & Financial Statement Analysis can help them understand all those reports they get and never read.
John Wiley & Sons; Financial Analysis - $85, Crash Course - $29.95
When CPAs face a health or legal issue, they turn to the medical or legal professions. One would hope that doctors and lawyers would exercise the same courtesy, and turn to CPAs when they face a tax issue, but legal publisher Nolo is doing its best to prevent this. Tax Deductions for Professionals details the tax breaks available to self-employed professionals, as well as offering advice on starting a business, choosing a structure, hiring and more. As with all Nolo publications, your best bet is to do everything you can to keep the book out of your clients' hands, and co-opt its expertise to improve your own practice.
GREETINGS FROM NIGERIA!
More than one of our international e-mail scams has been ruined by our ignorance of the proper initialisms for various credentials, but thanks to Directory of Global Professional Accounting and Business Certifications, we can now impersonate a FASSA from South Africa, claim the expertise implied by Lithuania's VAA designation, and fool the unwary into thinking we're an AHKQMA from Hong Kong. And since we like our scams up to date, the listings will be updated regularly online.
Now, we know what we're going to do with this book, but in theory you might use it to contact credentialing organizations abroad to check the value and validity of the designations claimed by foreign counterparts or job-seekers.
John Wiley & Sons; $25
ONE FOR THE TEAM
There's no "I" in "team," but there's no "we" or "us," either. That may explain why so many teams fall apart, and why the very people who have proven their ability to thrust themselves ruthlessly above everyone else (managers) often find it difficult to control group efforts.
And yet teams are necessary, so a look at Quick Emotional Intelligence Activities for Business Managers might be worth your while. Whether you're on the audit team, the management team or the firm softball team, the 50 exercises in the book will help it work better together.
America's litigation system is a bit like an episode of reality TV's Survivor - vicious, dangerous and full of borderline psychopaths. The big difference is that losers aren't just voted out; they're forced to pay vast sums and suffer damage to their reputations. If you're dragged into it, whether as a defendant, a plaintiff or even just a witness, the strategies in How to Win (& Survive) a Lawsuit cover everything from managing your lawyer to managing your emotions, how the legal system does and doesn't work, and the many different ways you can win in and out of court.
Arbor Books; $15.95
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